An Ottawa man who perpetrated the "cold-blooded, execution style murders" of his childhood friends and tried to kill a third has been sentenced to life in prison.
Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger, who labelled the murders as executions, handed down the lengthy sentence to Alam Buoc on Wednesday morning. Buoc killed two of his friends — Abdulrahman Al-Shammari and Dirie Olol — and repeatedly shot a third — Talal Al-Shammari — in July 2017.
He was convicted by a jury of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in November 2021 after a 12-week trial where he represented himself. It was his second trial after the first ended in a mistrial.
Maranger, in his written decision, called the motive in the case "trivial," or "at best an imaginary slight."
After a night of drinking at a Kanata bar, then showing off his guns to his friends, Buoc began believing one of them stole a single bullet from him. It led to him hopping in the back of Abdulrahman's white Mazda and then firing repeatedly at his friends inside the vehicle.
"These were the actions of a homicidal maniac — a monster," Maranger said.
Life sentence for attempted murder
Both convictions for second-degree murder carry with them an automatic life sentence in prison.
In choosing to impose life imprisonment on the attempted murder charge, Maranger said Buoc's moral culpability was absolute — he shot Talal Al-Shammari repeatedly.
"It was a miracle that the murder did not succeed," he wrote. "To impose a sentence of life imprisonment for an attempted murder requires an exceptional set of circumstances, one that involves stark horror, one where the intent to kill was clear and obvious. I find that the attempt to murder Talal Al-Shammari was such a case and that it warrants a penalty of life imprisonment."
Maranger also said the "escalation of gun violence in this city is alarming."
"The message must be sent out in no uncertain terms that gun violence will be met with the harshest of penalties. Denunciation and deterrence are, and must be, the most significant considerations."
Maranger called Buoc's "callous disregard" for his actions "shocking." He credited the surviving eyewitness's "survival instinct," the "heroic decency" of a newspaper delivery man who took Talal Al-Shammari to the hospital and "tenacity and professionalism" of the Ottawa police with bringing Buoc to justice.
In victim impact statements, court heard of the devastating loss that continues to haunt the families of Buoc's victims. Dirie Olol's parents had to move away from the city, where they raised their children because the memories are too painful.
The mother of Abdulrahman Al-Shammari's only son told court of the brave face she has to put on for her son, even though her heart shattered that July morning.
"My heart breaks more every day for my son, the little boy who only had his father for two short years of his life," she wrote.
Buoc must serve 25 years of his sentence, from the date of his arrest, before he is eligible for parole.